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Cougars get first shot at state champs

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
Escambia Academy head football coach Mickey Cannon would have probably designed the Cougars' 2001 schedule a bit differently and the changes would have started at the very beginning.
On Friday, prep football gets underway as the Cougars host the defending AISA, Class A state champions, Clarke Prep.
What worries Cannon the most is not that they are the defending champs, but that they only graduated four players.
While CP brings a wide range of experienced players for the season opener, Cannon is looking for leaders to step up and help the Cougars' only two seniors, Shaun Sirmon and Nick Ikner.
Cannon said an early win, especially against defending state champs, could help propel his team to a strong season.
With all the young players, Cannon is having to play a lot of players on both sides of the ball. In addition, many returning players are finding themselves at new positions.
Among the changes this year for the Cougars will be at the quarterback position. Sophomore Kevin Adair, a running back last season, will be taking the snaps.
Despite the many changes, Cannon is pleased with summer drills and said his team will be ready to go on Friday.
Another concern for EA coaches is that the younger players may get a bit nervous for the first game.
EA's goal of a winning season and a spot in the playoffs begins with Clarke Prep. Although the two teams are not in the same area, a victory is sure to help raise the spirits and confidence of the young squad.
But, winning is necessarily all that matters. Cannon said his top concern is that the players improve and give 100 percent on the field.